Sharp drop in number of people getting the flu vaccine as public confidence falls

An ordering gaffe led to delays in getting the vaccine to some GPs and pharmacies, resulting in patients being turned away.

Medics say many of those who were unable to get the jab in September and October have not bothered to come back.

Others have lost faith in it after it failed to work effectively in recent years as it contained the wrong strains of the virus.

Fewer people have received the vaccine this winter, leaving hundreds of thousands of vulnerable patients at risk.

Health officials are now desperately trying to boost the uptake before temperatures fall and infections climb.

There are around 8,000 deaths linked to flu complications each year.

Dr Peter Swinyard, of the Family Doctor Association, said: “When you lose trust in a vaccine it is very hard to get back.

“There was enormous confusion over the vaccine ordering process this year and delays in providing it to patients.

“Some people turned away early have not have come back.

“Others have said they don’t see the point in having the vaccine as they caught flu in previous years even after having it.

“Thankfully, the vaccine seems to be a good match for the circulating strain this year so should be more effective.

"Patients absolutely should get the vaccine as soon as possible.”

All pensioners and under-65s with a serious long-term health condition can have free jabs.

Only 45.7 per cent of eligible working age patients have had it — down three per cent on last year.

Uptake by OAPs is down one per cent to 70.5 per cent.

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